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Advice on how to write a proposal for a research paper

A crucial aspect of your academic life is the writing of research papers preceded by the writing the proposal. We explore some advice to set you up for success.

Select a manageable topic

The first step is defining your research topic. Choose one is easier said than done. Peruse previous proposals in your faculty. Ask your supervisor suitable broad areas to start your search. At this stage, you need to be broad and open in your selection process. The guiding factor for a topic is it should be manageable, with a focus in your study area and there should be enough sources of information to use in your writing.

Plan ahead of time

Do not fail with your first step by not creating a working plan. It should outline the various aspects of your proposal with timelines, workflow, a list of resources and deadlines. Outline the steps your will take in your writing. A good plan will help you understand the time and resources you will need and help you allocate both optimally.

Follow your faculty guidelines

Your faculty is your qualifying entity. You have to stick to the stated guidelines regarding structure, citation style, and prose among others. Your paper should as well have proper grammar, spelling, and diction.

Know your supervisor

Be in good terms with your supervisor. If you cannot relate to them, have them changed. This is crucial as your supervisor is a crucial factor in the success of your proposal. Throughout your proposal writing refer to your supervisor for guidance and clarifications.

Just do it

With a good plan and working title, it’s time to get down to it. Keep working, writing, rechecking your work and writing again. The unglamorous part of your proposal is that you will have to clock in the hours of research and writing to get your document to a finely tuned state able to pass muster with your supervisor and examining entity.

Credible sources

Throughout your writing process cite from credible sources. This will include peer-reviewed journal papers and textbooks from major academic publishers. As always a good place to start is the resource pools availed to the student by faculty in the form of access to online databases and repositories of the journal.

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Ask the right questions

There are times when you don’t understand exactly what you have to do, and this is completely ok as long as you to find out what is the answer to the problem.

The best person to help you is your professor, so every time there is something you don’t know, ask him.

Many students avoid doing this, but it will help you more than you think and you will actually develop your skills.

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